At least 34 dead in a suicide attack near a mosque in Pakistan | International

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At least 34 people have died and more than fifty have been injured this Friday in a suicide attack against a religious center where a meeting was being held to commemorate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad in the Mastung district of the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, as reported by medical and police sources. Other sources consulted by the Reuters agency raise the number of fatalities to 52. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which occurs amid an increase in attacks by militant groups in the west of the country, which increases security risks ahead of national elections scheduled for January next year.

“The attacker detonated himself [su carga explosiva] near the vehicle of the deputy chief of police [Nauaz Gishkori]”said Deputy Inspector General of Police, Munir Ahmed. The explosion occurred near the mosque where many faithful had gathered to commemorate Muhammad's birthday during this holiday. The armed group Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, which brings together several Sunni fundamentalist groups under its umbrella, has denied having carried out the attack.

The Minister of Information of the provincial government, Jan Achakzai, has indicated that the seriously injured are being transferred to the capital, Quetta, before denouncing that "the enemy wants to destroy religious tolerance and peace in Balochistan, with the blessing from abroad". Others affected by the explosion were treated in hospitals in the nearby town of Mastung. Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti has described the explosion as “a very heinous act”.

This is the second explosion to occur in Mastung this month. On September 14, 11 people, including the religious party leader Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), Hafiz Hamdullah, were injured due to an explosion near the vehicle in which they were traveling on the Quetta-Karachi highway. This political group suffered a suicide attack at the end of last July during a political rally, which left at least 63 dead and 120 injured, and which was claimed by the jihadist group Islamic State of Khorasan, a local branch of the terrorist group.

Pakistan has experienced a surge in armed violence since the Afghan Taliban came to power in Kabul in August 2021, which reignited attacks by their Pakistani ideological brothers, especially in the Afghan border provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. This last province is also a common scene of violence, with the presence of armed groups, Taliban factions and jihadist groups.

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